“I have been interested in this play of yours, Mr. Jocelyn. I couldn’t do it, in my theatre, but I thought I would like to have a talk with you and ask you what else you’ve done.”
“A woman-question play, called ‘Success,’ this one, and one on Universal Peace.”
“Certainly. Why do managers always ask that?”
“Because serious plays are so many, I suppose. Good comedies are so few.”
“I thought you always gave serious things in the Little Theatre?”
“I am forced to, but I am always looking for good comedy. I would like to see your other plays.”
They sat, discussing things of the theatre, tendencies in drama, fashions and fads, Gordon Craig’s book, the Rheinhardt idea. They spent a pleasant half hour, like an oasis in Jarvis’s desert. He felt that Mr. Ames had time for him, was sincere in his interest in him. He left the Little Theatre cheered in some inexplicable way.
When he returned to his lodgings that day he found a note from Strong, forwarded from the old address. It acknowledged Jarvis’s apology gracefully, and suggested that they dine together the night of this very day, unless Jarvis was again engaged, in which case he might telephone, and they would make other plans. Jarvis frowned over it ten minutes.
“Might as well go and get it over,” he remarked ungraciously. He telephoned Strong his acceptance, and asked if he might meet him at the restaurant. He did not wish Strong to know the new address. He would keep his struggle and his poverty to himself. That was certain.
The two men met at a roof garden, each determined to suppress his instinctive dislike of the other because of Bambi. They found a table, and after a short period of stiffness they fell into easy talk of books and plays and men.
“How do you like New York? I remember you confessed to hating cities when I saw you.”
“I still hate cities, but I am getting a new point of view about it all.”
“It’s a great school.”
“So it is.”
“Is Mrs. Jocelyn well, and the Professor?”
“Yes, thank you.”
“It is some time since you were home?”
“I had a note from Mrs. Jocelyn a few days ago.”
“I wonder if you would let me see your ‘Songs of the Street,’ she told me about?”
“She spoke of them to you?”
“In the highest terms. Said she had no idea of your plans in regard to them, but that the poems were strong and true.”
“I am glad she liked them.”
“Would you consider letting me have them for the magazine if they seemed to fit our needs?”
“You can look them over, if you like. They won’t fit, though. They’ll stick out like a sore thumb. The only editor I showed them to said they weren’t prose, and they weren’t poetry, and, besides, he didn’t like them.”